The Presidential Advisory Committee on the Proposed National Conference on Wednesday submitted its report to President Goodluck Jonathan.
President Goodluck Jonathan while receiving the Dr. Femi Okurounmu-led Presidential Advisory Committee said the proposed dialogue offers a unique opportunity for Nigeria to deepen its democracy and strengthen the nation,” rather than to destroy or weaken its union.”
President Jonathan also expressed his profound appreciation to members of the committee for consulting widely in as they compiled the reports and recommendations.
Full Speech of Mr. President:
1. I welcome you all.
2. The submission of the Report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference marks another milestone in our march towards building a better and more cohesive society for us and our children.
3. In spite of the circumstances of the birth of our country in 1914 and the several challenges of Nation building, Nigerians have in the last 53years demonstrated the belief that our diversity notwithstanding, we are a nation with great potentials. The task before us is to build a strong and united union.
4. In the last few decades, there have been issues that have challenged our determination as a people brought together by God in this great land of promise.
5. This Committee was therefore inaugurated to advice Government on a framework for Nigerians to review and discuss these challenges and proffer a sustainable way forward as to how we could build a nation where our citizens could live in peace and achieve their greatest potentials without any hindrance whatsoever.
6. As I said during the inauguration of this Committee, this administration stands for a stronger and more united Nigeria and shall do everything within its powers to practically pursue this noble goal.
7. I thank you Mr Chairman and other members for your commitment, resilience and dedication to the service of our fatherland. I commend you for the timely and inclusive manner, in which you carried out your assignment. You have no doubt, contributed significantly to the process of building a stronger union of the Nigerian family.
8. Mr Chairman, I am delighted that the Committee consulted widely in compiling its report and recommendations, reaching out to various socio-political and economic interest groups.
9. I am told that majority of Nigerians who participated in the Interactive Sessions that you conducted in 13 major cities across the country, expressed agreement with our commitment to an indissoluble, united and stronger Nigeria. I understand, however, that one person demanded an outright dissolution of our federalist structure.
10. In order to meet the yearnings of Nigerians and provide our people the platform they desire, Government will study this Report and act on its recommendations.
11. Nation-building, always comes with challenges defined by the prevailing political, economic, social and cultural mood of the people. We cannot ignore such challenges; rather we must realistically address them.
12. As our founding fathers did, we must appreciate that we are one large, diverse family, under God, and take steps to understand those variables that militate against our unity and aspirations to build a better society, and confront them with collective determination to move forward, thereby making our diversity, our source of strength.
13. Our democracy is still young and for us to provide life’s abundance for our people and play a noble role in world affairs, we must nurture and cultivate correct democratic values. The proposed dialogue offers this unique opportunity for us to deepen our democracy and strengthen our Nation, rather than to destroy or weaken our union.
14. I would like to assure all Nigerians that we will partner with all stakeholders to convene this dialogue, which outcome will add value to the process of building a stronger, united, more democratic and stable Nigeria. This discussion process is for the benefit of the entire Nation. Every Nigerian, as individual or as a group, has an important role to play to ensure its success.
15. Once again, I thank the Committee for a job well done even as I express my appreciation to all Nigerians for the cooperation given to this Committee.
16. I thank you.